Did you know that during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, her handbags came to signify femininity and toughness? Their style was unassuming: slender, structured, solid and ladylike. Thatcher didn’t need to wield a gavel; she could place her bag on the table to announce her presence. This swaggering announcement of womanhood was a way to consume space and demand attention. It marked her territory. To be sideswiped by Thatcher was to be “handbagged.” I like the word handbagged; it’s very descriptive, don’t you think?
Today our expert purse panel is ready to move on to the next set of purses and share their witty insights into their purse-analities. Please snap your purses together and offer them a warm welcome to our first reviewers, Leonardo Da’Bag and Bella La Bolca.
The first purse presented tonight belongs to Anne.
Leonardo Da’Bag: Well, well. We’ve got a purse glutton on our hands. People running around the Third World without any purses and you, carrying two! It’s a bit piggish, there’s no denying that. It says, “I believe in the Holy Trinity—Me, Myself and I.”
As for the bag itself, I have to say I like it. That’s just my taste; I’m into leather and buckles. Also, it looks well worn, which means you’ve made a real commitment to this bag. I think it means that as you get dressed each morning you’re thinking, “What can I wear that will go with my bag?” From a guy perspective, that is so hot!
As for the contents of the auxiliary bag, the notebooks and pens, the books, etc…. All I can say is that I think writing is an art form that continues to grow and mutate, and I have the utmost respect for writers. You work at Second City and carry a book called Study Funny. Did you write it? I feel almost like Antonio Salieri must have felt, knowing great writing, appreciating it, but unable to create it myself. After all, this person works at Second City. I’m cracking wise in some e-mail, and this person is at the center of the wiseass universe. I’m not fit to write about this purse or this person. The sound you are not hearing through my keyboard as I write this note is me, spitting on myself in disgust. Maybe if you carried extra batteries for your fancy speakers you could hear me spitting. Is that why you don’t carry extra batteries? I mean three notebooks, but one beloved speaker and not a battery in sight. Hmmm…
And now for the regular purse. Now we are adding zippers to the leather and buckles. VaVOOM! I think this bag is totally cool. The content seems to be what I would call standard. It’s hard to go into too much detail based on the picture, but it appears to be a lot of small round things—I’m guessing lipstick, pens and ChapStick—but after that I’m stumped. No hand sanitizer says that you’re self-confident or terminally ill, but either way you’re not worried about touching somebody’s sneeze residue. I think the goal is not to avoid sickness; it’s to get as much as possible. That way, while those germs fight each other, you can sneak around and live for a while. It makes as much sense as believing in Scientology, after all.
Err, which I guess means it makes no sense at all. Let me guess: The owner is a Scientologist with a terminal illness and a leather fetish. Sorry—I’ll just start chewing on my size twelve right now.
Cool bags, though!
Bella La Bolca: Obviously the bags of a complex and twisted individual. The old bag within a bag is a time-honored tradition of people who just can’t decide what purse to use. The bags are obviously well used and well loved. While I love that she carries redundant notebooks, multiple pens and lipsticks, I have to wonder how she gets by with just one “personal” product and no spare batteries for her favorite new toy. I’m going to have to go ahead and put Anne in my favorite category of people: the strange little mix of things category.
Christa’s bag will be reviewed by Satchel Shilpa and Oma Bagman.
Satchel Shilpa: I thought a stylish mother was only an urban legend, but then I met Christa’s purse. Love the comment about lips being more important than writing. Lots of questions come to mind, though. Was the permission slip for baseball lost at the bottom of the bag, or was it found and turned in on time? Did she keep the very old pieces of candy, or pitch them with the old wrappers and garbage? What does a person do with only one tissue? How does she keep dirt and fingerprints off of her nice light-colored bag? Christa is a conundrum that I will never understand or figure out. I think she may be an illusion presented by the purse gods.
Oma Bagman: Any analysis of this bag has to start with the bag itself. I’ve never seen one like it, unless you count the one I just unloaded into my pantry.
Yet with all that capacity, there’s only a little bit of stuff in it. Why? This is so unexpected. She could carry both her kids in that bag. Ok, I am exaggerating. She could feed them out of it, though. Couple pounds of corned beef, rye, Russian dressing, kraut, cheese. She could make Reubens out of that bag and still carry her stuff.
I really like the one tissue and three cough drops. This is a woman to be reckoned with. She is in charge—so in charge that she knows she will not be sick for longer than it takes to use up one of those little packs of Kleenex. I respect that. Well done, Christa.
Could you please turn in the boy’s baseball permission slip? You’re making me nervous holding onto it.
Our next purse belongs to none other than my sweet mother—Marcie!—and will be reviewed by Veronica Von Furstenbag and Sir Lance-a-Bag.
Veronica Von Furstenbag: This is a purse that makes my heart SING! After a week of reviewing hundreds and hundreds of utilitarian black and brown bags, this Coach, which is the color of an Easter egg, is a revelation to my senses. “I have arrived, ” it says, in a soothing voice, “and I don’t care if you like me. I like me.” I like it. Such confidence. The owner of this bag knows what she needs to carry around with her, but she is secure in her feeling that she is never so far from home that she must carry items to meet every potential minor, unmet need. Just the basics. Plenty of contents, but very well considered. She is meeting her dog’s needs, and taking care of business—that’s a lot of keys! She is taking care of her own special food needs and keeping clean. No one is accusing her of not having the right shade of lipstick at hand, and I do wonder if she is willing to step out with adventurous lip shades…or if her willingness to be colorful is all about the purse color? (By the way, is she measuring her waist after meals? Let’s ponder who needs to carry a tape measure! I trust she puts it to regular good use.) I envision this bag sitting pretty on the leather passenger seat of its owner’s Jaguar sedan as she pulls into her favorite Starbucks for a quick cuppa.
Sir Lance-a-Bag: This purse is adorable! Which would leave me to believe that its owner is also adorable. However, the contents list is a little frightening. You know that drawer everyone has, usually in their kitchen, called the junk drawer? It has old rolls of Scotch tape, several bottles of opened and dried-up Krazy Glue, usually at least one screwdriver, rubber bands, always a balloon and definitely a pair of scissors buried at the bottom. You don’t see the scissors at first glance so you’re always screaming, “Who took the scissors and where the hell did they put them!” The contents of this purse are a lot like that drawer. Who needs a tape measure on a daily basis? Is she a decorator or a seamstress? I also wonder about the list. She writes, “…some Wet Ones, for sticky fingers…” Does she mean that the Wet Ones were for the sticky fingers or is it a typo and she meant to type “four sticky fingers”? It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Also, what is it about the “OLD” mints? Are they actually old, and if so, she should eat them or throw them out…or is that the name of them? OLD mints for old people, or for old breath?
Thank you, reviewers! You simply outdid yourselves this evening! The staff at Odd applauds you purse-fusely! Odd readers, we will see you back here tomorrow night for Episode 5 of What’s Your Purse-anality! Please add your thoughts, opinions and pithy observations by leaving a comment below—Odd Loves Company!
Did you just love Oma Bagman’s review? If so you might want to click over and visit his blog ‘Blurt’–his administration is known for solving world problems–and he will not rest until croc’s are stomped out.